For many people, moving away for university is the first time you’ll be away from home. Whether you’re in student halls, a flat or a house share, living in shared student accommodation can be an exciting experience and a great opportunity to bond with your flatmates.
Once you’ve found your perfect student property (and if you haven’t yet, check out our latest property listings), you’ll want to make sure that your time there is as harmonious and enjoyable as possible.
It can be tempting to jump straight in and start planning parties and nights out, but from sharing chores to splitting bills, there are a whole host of things to consider as a group when settling in to shared student property.
Living in a completely different environment with new people can feel daunting, but with a few simple tricks and tips, you’ll feel at home in no time. Here are our top recommendations to make the most of your shared student accommodation.
Communication is Key
It may seem obvious, but good communication really is the secret to a good relationship with your housemates. Before you move in, make sure you take the time to talk to each other about your expectations and get a clear sense of people’s preferences.
For example, how do you feel about having friends over? How will you tackle the queue for the shower before morning lectures? Do you enjoy cooking for each other, or would you prefer nights in together with a takeaway?
Sit down as a group and run through what a typical day looks like for each of you. This will help to get a sense of how you can best get along as flatmates, and be sensitive of everyone’s needs. Bear in mind that you may need to compromise and be flexible, for example around cleaning.
Once you’re in your property, it’s a good idea to set aside a regular time to meet and discuss any questions or issues people may have. This will help prevent any smaller issues escalating and help everyone to feel they have the opportunity to raise any worries.
Before you move in, make sure everyone agrees on a household budget. Being clear on how bills with be shared, for example, will avoid any misunderstandings later down the line.
There are a number of online services available to help you split bills and make household finances more manageable; do your research and discuss together whether this could be helpful for you and your group.
Some groups prefer to share the grocery shopping, each putting a set amount into the kitty for household essentials like milk and bread. If this is something you and your housemates are interested in, it could be worth setting up direct debits every month, so that everyone knows their contribution is sorted.
Do Your Dishes
One of the most common pieces of advice students share with us is to clean up after yourself. No-one wants to be scrubbing their housemate’s week-old beans off the kitchen counter simply so that they can make a cup of tea.
Everyone has a different definition of ‘clean’, so it’s important to talk to your housemates about a standard of cleanliness everyone is happy with. For example, you may decide that the bathroom should be cleaned and the bins emptied at least once a week, to keep on top of communal areas.
Set up house rules around chores and all pitch in with the cleaning. You may find it helpful to have a cleaning rota, so that you all take a fair share. But make sure you all agree to it, and that it gets regularly updated, so that everyone knows what’s expected.
We all want to respect each other’s privacy and give people their own space, but we recommend taking time to get to know your housemates. Don’t be tempted to always stay in your room with the door closed; organise regular times to socialise together, whether it’s all catching up on the sofa over a film or a grabbing a bite to eat together.
The friendships you make at uni can be some of your closest, and nothing helps you bond more like living in the same flat or house. This is especially important if you’re new to student life and still getting to know the city; it’s likely that your housemates are in the same boat and just as nervous and excited as you are. Make the most of it and explore Newcastle together – you’ll soon find a few favourite haunts.
Why not check out our guide to the best student nightlife in Newcastle and arrange a night out together?
When it comes to student life in Newcastle, we’re in the know. From finding a property to discovering everything Newcastle has to offer, our guide to student life will help you navigate your time at uni.